Throughout his 3½ years in office, Gov. Paul LePage has received a lot of press for what he’s said about welfare, public education and job creation. Comparatively speaking, his views on reproductive rights have gone largely under the radar.

But when the Republican governor declares that reducing access to abortion is critical to the nation’s oldest state sustaining its population — as he did this week — it should be a wake-up call to all voters concerned about preserving access to not only abortion but also birth control and family planning services. Maine is in the middle of a closely fought gubernatorial election, and Maine voters should pay attention to their governor’s eccentric stand on an issue that affects thousands of women.

LePage’s remarks on abortion followed the release Tuesday by Planned Parenthood’s political arm of an ad critical of the governor’s record on women’s health issues. When a WCSH reporter asked him about the commercial, LePage replied: “I think that they are wrong. I’ll tell you what. … This is my position on Planned Parenthood: Do the right thing. The state of Maine has more people dying than are being born. Do the right thing.”

The governor has made similar comments on other occasions, such as this year’s Hands Around the Capitol rally, held by the Maine Right to Life Committee to mark the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision that struck down state prohibitions on abortion. The illogic he espouses is confounding and chilling. If Maine women had no choice but to carry to term pregnancies they didn’t want or couldn’t afford, the resulting poverty, abuse, hunger and family dysfunction would cripple our state, not revitalize it.

What’s more, LePage has shown little commitment to efforts to improve the lives of low-income women — and, by extension, their families.

In 2012, he eliminated $400,000 in state grants for the Family Planning Association of Maine. Two clinics had to close; others were forced to reduce their hours and services. Earlier this year, the governor vetoed a bill that would have expanded MaineCare coverage of birth control, annual breast and cervical cancer exams and family planning services for about 14,000 women earning less than $23,000 a year. (It would not have covered abortion.)

Unplanned pregnancies compromise needy women’s ability to get an education and participate in the workforce and their children’s chances of being born healthy and poised to grow and thrive. And needless to say, taxpayers also pick up part of the cost, in the form of services to low-income families.

The other two candidates for governor — independent Eliot Cutler and Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud — both recognize that it’s important to protect women’s access to reproductive health care. The current occupant of the Blaine House does not.

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